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The week in COVID-19: Q-C public health officials race against rising positivity rates

The week in COVID-19: Q-C public health officials race against rising positivity rates

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The COVID-19 race is on in the Quad-Cities.

It's a contest that pits the rising test positivity rates in both Rock Island County and Scott County against the public health effort to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

The positivity rate in Scott County reached 11% Wednesday and remained at least double what it was in the middle of March.

Rock Island County's positivity rate remained roughly half that of Scott County at 4.4% on March 31 — but that was a 1.3% percentage point increase in seven days.

The statistics that deeply troubled public health officials were the number of people hospitalized with severe symptoms of COVID-19 jumped to 19 in Rock Island County and 22 at Genesis Health System.

According to the vaccination numbers updated Friday by the Iowa Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments, private care providers and retail providers have fully vaccinated 53,567 people — 16.4% of the combined population 326,477.

"COVID arm" is a term experts are using to describe a delayed itchy rash or dull pain following a COVID-19 vaccine. The condition is currently most strongly linked to the Moderna mRNA vaccines but can occur after others. Doctors say that the effect is harmless and people should not let it deter them from getting their second dose of the vaccine. The symptoms can appear after a week since someone received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Symptoms include redness, swelling, tenderness or a skin rash eight or more days after receiving the injection. Researchers say that the reaction should fade by itself after four or five days. Researchers say that less than 1% of those involved in early trials of the Moderna vaccine developed a raised or itchy rash.

Friday, April 2

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced 60 new COVID-19 cases in Scott County, raising the county's total number of cases to 19,513 since the start of the pandemic.

There are 227 deaths linked to virus in Scott County.

Rock Island County did not report COVID-19 numbers Friday.

Once again, the positivity rate was on the rise in the Q-C. Scott County checked in at 11% — with 306 new cases over the course of the past seven days.

The positivity rate in Rock Island County was last reported March 20 at 4.6%.

The Pfizer Covid-19 jab is “100% effective and well tolerated” among children aged 12 to 15, a new study suggests.

Thursday, April 1

Thursday's news was the same as the news from the start of the week — new cases are on the rise, as Scott County reported 117 and Rock Island County reported another 47.

The crucial test positivity rates reflect the rise in new cases. Scott County has been between 9% and 11% this week, settling at 10% Thursday. That rate is more than twice the 4.8% rate throughout all of Iowa.

Reported every two weeks by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Rock Island's positivity rate checked in at 4.6% after spending nearly a month below 3%.

The positivity rate is on the rise at Genesis Health Systems. After checking in at 7.95% Wednesday, Thursday's rate jumped to 9.75%.

As predicted by the numbers, hospitalizations are climbing. By the end of February, Genesis' count of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms was down into single digits. Rock Island County's COVID-19 patient count fell to between nine and 11.

One day after reporting 22 patients with severe symptoms of the virus, Genesis reported 24 patients Thursday. There were 19 Rock Island County residents hospitalized with COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that vaccinated parents still need to worry about their children becoming infected while playing with other kids.

Wednesday, March 31

The day's COVID-19 news brought word of funding for local and area schools on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

Illinois' K-12 school districts will get $7 billion in federal funding over three years to help students excel as they return to the classroom after a year of remote and hybrid learning, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday.

The Rock Island-Milan School District will get the biggest award among Quad-Cities area districts, more than $35 million dollars. Moline-Coal Valley will receive about $26.3 million, and East Moline will receive $16 million.

Schools in rural Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties will also get an infusion of cash.

Tuesday, March 30

As early as Tuesday it was clear COVID-19 is making a comeback in the Q-C.

Scott County's most troubling statistic is the test positivity rate, which stood at 11% Tuesday. In mid-March that number hovered between 3% and 4%, but by last Friday ballooned to 10%.

Rock Island County's positivity rate jumped to 4.6% this week after falling to a low of 2.6% just 10 days ago.

The government of Italy is requiring all health-care workers to take a COVID-19 vaccine, with those refusing facing suspension without pay for the rest of the year.

Monday, March 29

Rock Island Health Department officials made the biggest COVID-19-related announcement of the week Monday, telling residents everyone 16 and older were now eligible to receive one of the three available vaccines.

Rock Island County Health Department COO Janet Hill explained the move, originally scheduled for April 12 as part of a statewide expansion.

"The case numbers are going up," Hill said. "The positivity rate is up. We are are seeing more hospitalizations. We are trying everything we can to stay ahead of what could become an avalanche of new cases."

Sunday, March 28

Iowa Health officials reported 38 additional positive COVID-19 tests Sunday in Scott County, bringing the total number of positive tests in the county to 19,204 since the pandemic began.

Individual COVID-19 cases in Scott County totaled 17,902 since the start of the pandemic.

Saturday, March 27

Iowa Health officials reported 60 additional positive COVID-19 tests Saturday in Scott County, bringing the total number of positive tests in the county to 19,166 since the pandemic began.

Individual COVID-19 cases in Scott County totaled 17,182 since the pandemic began. By Saturday there were 226 COVID-19-related deaths in Scott County since the pandemic began.

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